To say I'm a little awestruck understates my emotions throughout this Democratic National Convention. Seeing celebrities and nationally known politicians, and conversing with some of them, can do that to a humble student journalist.
The New York Times' David Brooks once spoke to me following a lecture he gave at my college. He told me that he'd just had lunch with the president prior to flying in to give us a talk about politics, the election and the American way.
"Mr. Brooks, how is it that you can have lunch with a man whose policies you degrade in your columns?" I asked.
Brooks told me that politicians are very seductive, to make no mistake about that; however, if you've reached the presidency of the United States, then you likely have thick skin.
I thought that I would never experience the things Brooks spoke of. Yet now I find myself with press credentials roaming the floors of the Time Warner Convention Center and seeing people whose faces have adorned the pages of every major media outlet since I can remember. As a result, I ask myself many questions.
Questions like: Is one part of the country seduced, the other part complacent and another too tired to care? How do those who are electrified at this convention turn what is being said into actions that "move us forward"? I don't have any answers.
Yes, the Democratic National Convention is historic and fun to attend for me. Still, I wonder if this convention represents the morale of the American people?
If you think the question is rhetorical, it is not. We know what the Republicans are doing. Just look at their convention. Not a person of color in sight, Motown songs being sung by Caucasians, a lot of pageantry orchestrated by Karl Rove.
Professor and political dissident Noam Chomsky, a man I call my friend, helped put what the Republican Party is doing into perspective.
"Romney and Ryan are setting new records for brazen lying, so extreme that even Fox News is criticizing it," wrote Chomsky in the almost weekly e-mail we exchange. "They do it, quite consciously, because they assume that they can get away with it -- that the media will present it as a 'he says, she says' issue."
Chomsky continued, "They may well be right, at least with their voting base, which is also setting new records for hysteria and irrationality. Sad story for the country, and the world."
I have to agree. As a student and writer who has been taught to question authority, I need to hear more from our president. What do you mean by "move our country forward"? How will you do it? Yes, we know you're human. So am I.
I know what it means to not know where my next meal would come from. I'm a product of a broken foster care system. I would have been very hard-pressed to find success had I not been adopted into a loving family who owed me nothing and gave me everything.
Anyone who watched Michelle Obama's speech last night knows her sincerity. What about our nation's most needy who won't have time to pick up a paper or access the Internet? What are we doing for them?
How will we restore America to some kind of vigor and why aren't we talking about joblessness at this convention? Though I support my party, these are the things our country yearns to know.